One thing that surprises a lot of people is just how little thought went into the start of TLO. Once we got the idea, we poured our hearts and souls into it and it consumed our every waking moment (and, for one of us, that continues to this day), but the blog from the beginning was started by three guys who had never met that just liked writing about Oklahoma and who said “Let’s start a blog about Oklahoma!”
The fun part about this ten-year retrospective project for me has been going back and reading old emails from when we were conceiving of the site. We were three people who didn’t know each other, trying to work together to create something people might enjoy. We didn’t know each other’s personalities or views on politics or views on the world even our favorite weatherman. It was a strange dynamic.
In that context, on May 19th, 2007 — less than a week after TLO debuted — an email arrived in my inbox Titled “Uh.” It was an oddly personal note from Patrick informing me that he was getting divorced and may take a few weeks off, but that he’d be back and really liked the direction that site was going. I guess the subject line was appropriate.
Basically, TLO was a bit of a rocky start for our man Patrick. I wasn’t much better off: Patrick found me because I had started my own personal blog as a reaction to the breakup of a long-term relationship, a sketchy job situation, and a bout of soul-sucking, debilitating depression. Ironically, even though his online persona was that of a Charlie Brown-like sadsack, it was Clark Matthews who was the happy one with a great wife and a newborn son.
Given the circumstances of TLO’s beginnings, it’s kind of a miracle it ever got off the ground and didn’t become just another one of the dead blogs littering the Internet. But it did! And even though none of us are journalists, and we certainly don’t even think of ourselves as legitimate journalists, we’re even able to break news stories before the actual professionals thanks to our great readers and members of the Ogle Mole Network.
On that note, I thought today that it would be fun to look back at some of the more popular and memorable news stories we broke over the years. Check them out:
In 2008, we leaked the Thunder’s awful logo design a week before its official unveiling. It was so bad we weren’t sure if it was legit or not.
When we started the site, I don’t think any of us anticipated “catch a famous actress plastering sharks all over Bricktown” was high up on our list of things we expected to do. But here we are.